The Evolution of Anime as a Cross-Cultural Phenomenon

Nothing illustrates the evolution of anime better than the evolution of one of its first superstars – Astroboy. This popular cartoon character for children made his Japanese debut back in 1952. Astroboy was the creation of Dr. Osamu Tezuka, a Tokyo manga (comic book) artist. The name Osamu Tezuka is as revered in Japan as Walt Disney is in the United States and his work has been just as influential.

The original Astroboy, known as Atom Boy in Japan, was a big-eyed robot boy with a human heart. Early renderings of the character set the style for anime for decades to come. Doe-eyed heroes and heroines have paid homage to Tezuka’s robot hero ever since. Like Astroboy himself, though, they have become ever more elaborately rendered. The big-eyed, small-mouth and nose character has even become recognized as part of the definition of anime in some circles, though that is not entirely accurate.

Just as Osamu Tezuka was influenced by Western cartoons and cartoonists, our cartoon art has been influenced by anime. It is a two-way street, based both on artistic and commercial sensibilities. Cartoon artists are artists first and always look for inspiration from other artists. The producers of animated films are business people first and they look for ways to alter the characters, plots and animation techniques that will appeal to larger audiences.

It may be because its target audience was international that made the animators of the 2002 winner of the Best Animated Film Oscar, Spirited Away, decide to make their protagonist’s eyes smaller than most anime characters’ eyes had been in the past. For whatever reasons, they were, and other characters in the film had far more realistic faces than the smooth skinned Chihiro (the heroine). In spite of that, she retained so many of the classic anime characteristics that only a hardened cynic could say that the film was not “real” anime. Continue reading

How Anime Gets Under Your Skin

If you’re not a fan of anime and don’t want to become one, the best advice that can be given is to avoid watching one! There is something about anime that is strangely compelling, no matter what your age or viewing preference.

While the word anime is derived directly from the English “animate” and anime are the equivalent of cartoons in every sense of the word, they are also quite different from cartoons as we know them. For one thing, our cartoons, including feature length cartoons, are virtually all designed for young viewers. Animes, on the other hand, are made for a variety of age groups.

As in America, there are children’s anime. Astroboy is a Japanese children’s classic that made the transition to U.S. television screens without appearing first as a popular video game, as Pokemon and Digimon did.

Other, more mature genres of anime include crime, horror, science fiction and martial arts. Some of the most richly detailed and highly structured plots that have captured American fans’ imaginations have been science fiction anime. Often, these take place in a darkly sinister near future when information technology has become so all pervasive that it has taken on a life of its own. In some cases, heroes and heroines travel through cyberspace to battle against evil. In other cases, cyberspace itself is the evil. Continue reading

Triple Play to Win!

Comcast offers customers so much that the phrase “Triple Play” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Convenience, ease of use, great selection, great service, fantastic options means customers not only get more than they expect, they can get more than they ever thought possible.

Let’s start with what you get. First and foremost, you have access to over 300 channels of all the TV you could ever want to watch. Great sports channels like FOX Sports, ESPN, the Golf Channel and the Tennis channel are just the tip of the iceberg for sports fanatics. Kids have Noggin, Nickelodeon, Disney, Toon Disney and even more great choices for education and entertainment. SoapNet and Oxygen are just a couple of the great channels for those who find that romance and drama are their cup of tea. And speaking of tea, we can’t leave out the Food channel.

Next, industry leading high speed internet services brings the World Wide Web into the home at speeds hundreds of times faster than dial-up ever dreamed about being. With standard speeds up to 6 megabits per second, Comcast gives customers the tools they need to enjoy streaming audio and video, the ability to zip through even the most complex web sites in seconds, and with the added bonus of PowerBoost technology, huge files such as updates, downloading videos and music, and even large quantities of pictures and other files come blazing down at 12 megabits per second. Twice as fast as standard! Continue reading

What’s Not To Like?

Comcast gives you more of everything you expect from a cable company and a lot of things you don’t.

Of course, you expect great TV. Digitally clear picture quality and sound, is a given. A great line-up is also a given. This is cable TV after all. And blazing fast internet is also a given.  New technology has given Comcast the ability to bring you all this, plus Comcast Digital Voice, which is Comcast’s answer to the ever present telephone company.

But what you don’t expect is all the benefits you get when you subscribe to Comcast. Not only do you get a great line up, but you can get over 300 channels of everything you want to get out of TV. Sports channels including ESPN and FOX sports are available to satisfy the biggest fans out there.  Kids and family oriented programming including Disney and Noggin, Nickelodeon and Discovery Kids are on tap for the younger generation. SoapNet and Hallmark, Oxygen and WE are some of the channels for those who love romance and drama, and music lovers not only get great channels like MTV, VH1 and CMT to listen to, but dozens of CD quality music channels covering every music genre available. From Top 40 to Easy Listening to Jazz and Opera, anything someone would want to hear is available. And let’s not leave out all those fantastic High Definition Television channels! Continue reading

Epic 600 MX

According to Merriam-Webster, “epic” means “extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope” and in the case of the Epic 600 MX, that most certainly is a very accurate description. Tons of features, high quality construction, a stupendous warranty and a price that belongs on a much cheaper treadmill, the 600 MX definitely extends beyond the ordinary!

Let’s start with the basics. The 2.5 horsepower commercial grade motor means better life. Not only that, but the extra horsepower means it’ll handle a heavier load. The 600 MX will handle up to 325 pounds in this case, versus 275 or 300 in virtually every other treadmill out there. And with a 12 year warranty on the motor, you have to know it’s going to deliver for a long, long time to come.

The 20 x 55 tread belt area means more room to walk, and the ability to take a longer stride, great for those taller individuals who may have a problem with a shorter treadmill. Speaking of the longer treadmill, the deck is designed with Epic’s ConfortStep impact reducing cushioning, designed to reduce the impact on your knees, hips and ankles up to 15% over regular road running. The 2.5 inch crowned steel rollers ensure smooth operation and better treadmill life. With a two year warranty on parts, and a full year warranty on labor, this machine has been designed to last. Continue reading

Online Dating Sites

Companionship is a basic human need that everyone has. For individuals that are searching for the “right one” in tough economic times, the monthly subscription to online dating sites can be an unwanted burden, or the monthly fee can be out of reach altogether. For those that are financially limited, but that want the companionship they are searching for, there are free online dating sites that offer the same basic services as the sites that charge. These free online dating sites give individuals a free, open forum to communicate with others and find friends and long-term relationships with people from all over the country, or the world. With no monthly subscription, there is no monthly commitment and no unnecessary drain on personal finances. Finding the “right one” is as easy as signing up and signing on. These sites have personal profiles, places to blog and open forums to talk in to help people find out who else is out there searching for their “right one”.

Free online dating sites are also good for people that find it hard to break the ice or initiate a conversation with people they do not know.  Instead of initiating conversations, individuals can use these sites to read conversations that are already in progress, allowing them to “jump in” when they feel comfortable with it. These sites are also safer than going through dating services where people are introduced face-to-face because they offer a certain level of anonymity. For people that have had awkward, or even dangerous experiences with first dates or new relationships, these sites offer a place to meet new people safely, while staying protected. There is no personal, identifiable information required for sign-up or participation, and the subscriber never has to reveal personal details pertaining to his or her life, finances or location unless he or she is comfortable with revealing them. Continue reading

Treat Yourself to a Wonderful Aruba Vacation

“Aruba is wonderful!” That just about sums up most visitors’ Aruba travel reviews. That’s just what comes at the end of the review, after the reviewers have written enthusiastically about the pristine pearl beaches, the crystal clear Caribbean Sea, the delicious international cuisine, the sights and sounds of the island and everything else they experienced on their Aruba vacation. To prove their point, they add some Aruba travel photos to their reviews. Have a look at some Aruba travel reviews. They’re sure to make you want to experience a wonderful Aruba vacation yourself!

Many people don’t go to Aruba because they think it will be too expensive. That’s understandable when you read about sumptuous 5 star Aruba hotels. But you don’t have to stay in Aruba luxury hotels if you don’t want to. Before you write them off as too expensive, though, see what kinds of Aruba vacation packages they’re offering. You might be surprised to discover that even 4 and 5 star Aruba hotels are comparatively inexpensive. Continue reading

Pamper Yourself at an Aruba Luxury Hotel

There are times in life when nothing but the best will do. You need the best hotel resort, with the most immaculately groomed grounds, a selection of gourmet restaurants to choose from and a large and luxurious pool with attendants who are ready and waiting to cater to your every need. You even demand your own private pearly white sand beach with an award winning spa and relaxation center at your disposal nearby. As many seasoned five star travelers can attest, this describes an Aruba luxury hotel perfectly.

Aruba luxury hotels leave nothing to be desired. Your spacious room will have been designed by an internationally recognized interior designer. You will have a large marble bathroom, a sumptuous bed, comfortable lounges and a private balcony or garden patio. From the moment you enter your hotel suite, you’ll feel wrapped in luxury.

The grounds around your Aruba Luxury hotel will have been custom designed to induce a feeling of absolute serenity as you stroll through shaded gardens filled with aromatic tropical plants. Enjoy the cocktail of your choice poolside and slip into the cool waters for a refreshing dip. A fresh towel will be waiting for you at your poolside chaise lounge when you get out.

Simply ask a staff member to arrange for a round of golf at Aruba’s famed Tierra del Sol championship golf course. You will be escorted there in the hotel’s private luxury car and the driver will be waiting for you when you’ve finished your game. When you get back to your Aruba luxury hotel, you can indulge in a hot sauna or steam bath, a hot or cold spa bath and a professional massage. By the time you’re finished, you won’t have a care in the world. Continue reading

Merging Computers and Mobiles

Cellular telephone advances in technology are now the fastest moving on the market and are being merged with computer applications making the new mobile phones the most popular item to procure.  Computers have basically reached their potential as far as applications are concerned with goals being to minimize size without losing capabilities.  As mobile telephonic technology advances and each new model is released, more features are added making it a ‘must have’.  They now have the ability to access a wide range of options – place phone calls, play video games, listen to music, download ringtones, take photos (emailing to IDs), SMS, and now one can even access personal emails.

Up until now, people have been unable to access their own media.  Service providers have limited access to certain features from expensive WAP download sites.  It is expected that restrictions will be dropped to provide full access much in the same way as access is provided on the Internet.  This will be a boon to website designers as it will open up a new market.  The use of computers will never decrease but as more of the younger generation get accustomed to using mobile phones for all communications, it will certainly decrease somewhat.  Continue reading

DVD Duplication

Innovations bring change and creations of new and better ways of doing simple tasks.  As with all technology, some tailor it to use legally and others find ways of using technology illegally.  DVD duplication is becoming more and more popular, and it is important to understand what forms of duplication are and are not lawful.  Any copyrighted media – films, photos, or music – may not be duplicated in any way as it is an infringement.   Federal penalties are quite costly with risk of incarceration.  Other forms of DVD duplication are great as it consolidates information onto a small disc.  This eliminates the purchase, use and storage of clumsy video cassette tapes, photo albums, books, and other forms of media.  Transfer all your photos, family movies, and documents to DVDs or transfer movies from old VHS tapes to DVDs.  Create your own library of DVDs for ease in retrieval and assurance that your memories and documents are preserved in a format that will play on systems being marketed today.
It is never too soon to begin converting the old to the new DVD format but before you begin, decide whether you want to leave the information on the new disc permanently or do you plan to erase the contents and record over them.  If your recording is temporary, choose a DVD-RW.  The RW is indicative of a rewritable disc and means that it can be recorded, erased, and re-recorded.  If you plan to record on a permanent basis, choose a DVD+R.  The DVD+R is less expensive than DVD-RW, and it is important to know that the DVD+R cannot be recorded over.   This is true with the music disc as well.  A CD-RW is rewriteable and offers one the flexibility of reuse.  If you prefer a permanent music disc, the CD+R is the more affordable option.  Preserve your memories and share with others by using DVD duplication.  Baby’s first steps, first words, first birthday, holiday celebrations, weddings, family and holiday pictures – all may be recorded on DVD.  Create a gift of special pictures or video for mailing to family and friends.  Some DVD players convert from VHS to DVD and from DVD to VHS.  To convert from DVD to DVD, one usually has to record from DVD to VHS and then back to DVD.  Just be sure to use a VHS that may be recorded over so that it may be used for future DVD to DVD recordings.

This technology was not available until a few years ago, and to begin one needs a DVD recording unit and blank DVDs.  These are readily available for purchase and are usually located in the electronics departments of local retail stores or online at any electronics retail website.  DVD duplication is the best means to preserve the old and the new with today’s technology.  It is always best to preserve your cherished moments on currently available electronic devices as technology advances quickly and items we once thought were irreplaceable become obsolete.  The size of DVDs may change but the technology is here to stay, and we can be comforted in knowing that there will be DVD players for any size DVD.